Is it a Castle or a Palace?

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Eilean Donan Castle – my favorite!

Across the globe, castles and palaces are viewed as some of the most beautiful and historic structures in the world; which, as I recently discovered, is certainly the case in Scotland and Ireland. But what makes one a castle and the other a palace? Much like the difference between a house and a home, a lot depends on why it was built, how it is used, and who lives there. In general, castles are built for defense and protection, while palaces are meant to radiate luxury and elegance.

A castle is a fortified structure; a base from which an attack can be planned and carried out. Castles have certain architectural features that only other castles have; like moats, gatehouses, round towers, battlements and exterior slits for archers to fire arrows through. They are built with thick walls, usually of stone and bricks. According to history, castles were first constructed in the ninth century and are found mostly in Europe and the Middle East.

A palace is built to show off wealth and power. It is really nothing more than a beautiful place to live! Constructed with spacious halls and lovely rooms, the purpose of a palace is for the ease, enjoyment and diversion of the people who live inside it, usually royalty or other nobility. Palaces have been around longer than castles and are found all over the world.

Like a house, a castle is meant to provide shelter. Like a home, a palace is meant to provide warmth, comfort and space for a family to live together in harmony and love. With that in mind, I suppose the ultimate goal would be for a castle to feel like a palace; and a house to feel like a home.

Here are some castles that feel like a palace inside (and also a bit like a home):

Inveraray Castle, Scotland

Glamis Castle, Scotland

The following castles, while still beautiful, are not quite as elegant inside:

Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

Blair Castle, Scotland

Blarney Castle in Ireland is a good example of strength and ease of armament:

In Edinburgh, Scotland, a castle sits at the top of a hill ready to defend the palace down at the bottom.  Impressive Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline while the Palace of Holyrood House, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, is the anchor at the other end of the Royal Mile. Attached to the palace are the remains of Holyrood Abbey.

Edinburgh Castle:

Holyrood Palace:

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Ruins of Holyrood Abbey:

My response to today’s one-word prompt: Radiate

All photos were taken on a 2017 trip to Scotland and Ireland.

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21 thoughts on “Is it a Castle or a Palace?

  1. Just awestruck by these photographs. I can’t believe they are not taken by a professional photographer. 😍😱
    And believe me your topic is very interesting. I did not know the difference, really.
    And to answer the question, both. Castles give a more mystical kind of feeling about their past and story that it has lived through and standout to be a proud structure even in its ruins while palaces are just that; palaces! Luxurious, beautifully constructed and pure eye candies to be seen and visited. Also interesting and they also have their own stories. ❤️❤️
    PS i love this post 😍💕

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beautiful article and lovey set of pictures!! Yes they both are very different, but whenever I visit a castle or a fort, it gives me such a excitement which is not there when I visit a palace. In a castle each and every brick has a story and lot of events would have happened at each and every corner. Palace just exists and it sees only happiness unlike the castles..

    Like

  3. Lovely post. I went to Eileen Donan once, having seen similar pictures to the one you had taken, with the intention that it would be a great place to possibly propose to my now wife. When we got there, it was crawling with tourists to such an obscene level that we decided we didn’t want to go in…the good news was that I had proposed in a much nicer place overlooking a seabird colony near John O’Groats a few days before. 😄 Silver linings!

    Liked by 1 person

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